Should Your Child Support Payment be Reduced?
Couples with children who decide to separate and who are unable to come up with an out-of-court agreement will still need to grapple with the issues of time sharing and child support, but may need to leave the resolution of those matters up to a judge. These issues are naturally interconnected, as the parent who pays child support generally spends less time with the child than the other parent. If, however, a child ends up spending a substantial amount of time with the parent who is paying support, that individual could be entitled to a reduction of his or her child support payment. For help determining whether your parenting plan ensures you a substantial amount of time with your child and how that could affect your child support payment, please reach out to our experienced Fort Lauderdale child support legal team today.
What is Substantial Time Sharing?
In Florida, if you are ordered by a court to pay child support, but you also spend a substantial amount of time with your child, then you could be entitled to a reduction in your child support obligations. In fact, those who can prove that they are responsible for a substantial amount of time sharing are guaranteed a reduction in child support. When it comes to the amount of time that qualifies as substantial, courts have repeatedly confirmed that any parents who spend at least 20 percent of the overnights, or at least 73 nights per year, with their child will satisfy the substantial time sharing standard.
Calculating a New Child Support Award
When a court reassesses a couple’s time sharing agreement and determines that the party paying child support is also spending a substantial amount of time with his or her child, the court will calculate a new child support award based on the gross up method. This method accounts for the fact that the costs of raising a child are higher when both parents maintain separate households for that child. Using the gross up method requires the increasing of the base child support obligation (usually utilized in child support calculations) by 150 percent. The amount each parent is responsible for is then allocated based on:
- Each party’s income; and
- Each parent’s percentage of overnight stays.
The difference between the standard income shares model and the gross up calculation method isn’t too significant when one parent is responsible for the majority of a child’s overnight visits. The closer to equal the number of overnight visits get, on the other hand, the greater the impact on the amount of child support that the parties will have to pay.
Does Your Child Support Award Need to be Adjusted?
Whatever type of timesharing schedule you and your child’s parent have, you should have a child support payment that is reflective of the substantial amount of time you spend with your child. To make sure that your own child support order is fair, please contact experienced Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.